- Thai Navy SEALs/Facebook
- In a letter written to 25-year-old soccer coach Ekapol Chanthawong, parents of the boys trapped in the cave thanked him for keeping their children safe.
- The coach remained in the northern Thailand cave until all of the boys had been rescued.
- By the time he was brought out of the cave, he was dehydrated, shivering, and showing signs of hypothermia.
Parents of the Thai boys soccer team who were trapped in a northern Thailand cave for more than two weeks told the coach not to blame himself for the ordeal.
In a letter written to the 25-year-old coach while he and the 12 members of the Wild Boar soccer team were still trapped in the cave, parents thanked him for taking care of their children.
The parents wrote to coach Ekapol Chanthawong: “Please don’t blame yourself for this. We want you to rest assured that no parent is upset or angry at you. Everybody supports you.
“Thank you very much for taking care of our children. You went into the cave with our children and you must get out with them. Take our children and yourself out with safety. We are waiting in front of the cave.”
Coach Ek, as the players called him, was the final person to be rescued from the cave after all of the children had been taken out by divers.
By the time he was brought out of the cave, he was dehydrated, shivering, and showing signs of hypothermia, and authorities learned he sacrificed his rations of food to keep the boys alive.
Prior to the letter from the parents, Chanthawong had apologized for bringing their boys into such a situation.
He wrote: “I promise I will care for the kids as best as possible. I want to say thanks for all the support and I want to apologize to the parents.”
On Tuesday evening, all 12 boys and Chanthawong had been rescued following a three-day operation by the Thai Royal Navy and Thai Navy SEALs.
Chanthawong had taken the boys about 2.5 miles into the cave after a soccer game on June 23 as part of an initiation ritual which would see them write their names on the cave walls. But heavy rains trapped the team inside for 17 days.
While they are believed to be in good health, the boys and their coach face a long road to recovery and are still being evaluated at a hospital in Chiang Rai.
Parents of the boys have been watching their children at the hospital as they recover and are evaluated by doctors.